Big Pharma under investigation


Author: Elio F. Gagliano, MD
Article Published: 21/01/2008


If anyone has ever wondered if FORCES's accusations regarding Big Pharma were the maniacal materialization of an enemy to fight, like Don Quixote's windmills, read the following news:

Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition Policy.

Commission launches sector inquiry into pharmaceuticals.

Introductory remarks at press conference.

 

Brussels, 16th January 2008

 

Antitrust: Commission launches sector inquiry into pharmaceuticals with unannounced inspections.

 

The European Commission has launched a sector inquiry into competition in the pharmaceuticals sector (under Article 17 of Regulation 1/2003), and is conducting inspections at the premises of a number of innovative and generic pharmaceutical companies. The inquiry is a response to indications that competition in pharmaceutical markets in Europe may not be working well: fewer new pharmaceuticals are being brought to market, and the entry of generic pharmaceuticals sometimes seems to be delayed. The inquiry will therefore look at the reasons for this. In particular, the inquiry will examine whether agreements between pharmaceutical companies, such as settlements in patent disputes, may infringe the EC Treaty's prohibition on restrictive business practices (Article 81). It will also look into whether companies may have created artificial barriers to entry, whether through the misuse of patent rights, vexatious litigation or other means, and whether such practices may infringe the EC Treaty's ban on abuses of dominant market positions (Article 82). Vigorous competition in this sector is crucial for the public, as it ensures both access by patients to state-of-the-art medicines, and value for money for health spending by individuals, private health schemes and government health services in Europe. An interim report is planned for autumn 2008 and final results are expected in the spring of 2009. The inquiry's findings will allow the Commission or national competition authorities to focus any future action on the most serious competition concerns, and to identify remedies to resolve the specific competition problems in individual cases.

It is estimated that, within the European Union, the pharmaceutical companies handle €400 billions, equivalent to about $586 billions. If it is nearly impossible to figure out what is the stake on game in the world market, it is easy, instead, to imagine how  simple it must be to buy governments, no matter if democratic or openly dictatorial!

Neelie Kroes suspects that the pharmaceutical tycoons are not acting according to market regulations. The reasons for the suspicion are not officially stated, but we can figure them out on our own.

Among the companies investigated are: Glaxo, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Sanofi-Aventis.

We'll be looking forward to seeing the final results of the investigation.


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